The Michigan Public School Finance research received generous support from the John W. Porter Distinguished Chair in Urban Education, administered by the College of Education at Eastern Michigan University. Our primary aim is to investigate the persistence of racism as it relates to Michigan K-12 public school funding policy, practice and educational disparity.
There is irrefutable evidence of the failure of finance systems in most states to provide all children with the opportunity for educational success. There is an urgent need to improve educational inequities by redefining the state finance system that ensures equal educational opportunity by providing a sufficient level of funding distributed to districts within the state.
While both national and state level comparison have been conducted relative fairness, Michigan has continued to an adequacy funding framework. During the, late 1980s and early 1990s saw a shift in legal strategy regarding state school finance systems away from an emphasis on achieving equal revenues across settings (neutral of property wealth) and toward identifying some benchmark for minimum educational adequacy (Baker, Weber, Srikanth, Atzbi, & Kim, 2018). Yet, this approach is problematic, in part, because when some are provided merely minimally adequate education, but others are provided education that far exceeds minimum adequacy; the former remains at a disadvantage. Further, reliance on the minimum adequacy bar is detrimental because, by tolerating an adequacy gap, it potentially creates an even larger outcome gap (Koski and Reich, 2006).